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The Idiot by Dostoevsky

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  • Book
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The Idiot is a novel written by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky
and first published in 1868. The original Russian title is "Идиот",
"Idiot" (the Russian language does not use definite articles).
Dostoevsky considered entitling the work Prince Myshkin.

Prince Lyov Nikolayevich Myshkin returns to Russia after a long
absence. Myshkin suffers from epilepsy – just like Fyodor Dostoevsky
himself – and is prone to periods of blackouts. This has been treated
with some success in Switzerland. The Myshkin family line is said to
end with him and his cousin.
On the train to Saint Petersburg, Myshkin meets and befriends the dark
and enamoured Rogozhin. The latter tells the prince about his passion
for Nastasya Filippovna, a beautiful woman with a bad reputation.
Myshkin arrives at the house of General Yepanchin, who is married to
the only other living member of the Myshkin line. Myshkin learns that
Ganya, a young go-getter and secretary of the General, wants to marry
Nastasya for her dowry. The prince feels an irresistible desire to
meet her after hearing about her and even more so when he views a
picture of her in the General's office.
At Nastasya's name day party, Myshkin sees Rogozhin arrive drunk and
offer the young woman a large amount of money to follow him. The
prince perceives the despair of Nastasya and proposes to her in order
to save her from her situation. She, believing the prince's offer
stems only from pity, flees with Rogozhin. The two men, formerly bound
by friendship, become rivals.
Rogozhin even tries to kill his friend with a knife, but is hindered
when, due to the stress of the situation, Myshkin falls into an
epileptic seizure.